Two Brazilian companies may build a giant petrochemicals complex in Wood County, it was revealed Thursday. That is wonderful news for Wood County, the state of West Virginia - and the Northern Panhandle.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and officials of one of the firms, Odebrecht, made the announcement. "It's going to be a game changer for the state of West Virginia," Tomblin said.
Indeed it would be a major boost to the economy.
If undertaken, the complex would be called Ascent, an acronym standing for Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise. An ethane cracker plant would be at the heart of the facility, providing chemicals that could be used in several types of manufacturing.
To their credit, Ascent officials are being cautious, emphasizing the complex is just in the exploratory phase. Odebrecht does have an option for the site, however.
Of course, area residents would have preferred to have a cracker plant in the Northern Panhandle. Clearly, however, this region could not match the site available in Wood County.
But a Wood County cracker would provide another major market for natural gas from here. It also could provide raw material for new factories employing area residents.
So the announcement is good news for the Northern Panhandle. State officials have worked hard for three years to land the cracker. We encourage them to keep up the good work -especially in view of recent news that Monaca, Pa., may not get the Shell cracker which for a time seemed a near done deal.